According to latest reports, The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Administration through the IHA on 3rd October issued a notice regarding revision of the Hostel Manual, concerning rules, procedures, and regulations, and uploaded a draft of the proposed Manual on the JNU Website.
The Draft, seeking suggestions from both students and teachers, mentioned that the stipulated time for students to return to their respective hostels will be 11.30pm. Furthermore, if a student is absent overnight they should inform the warden beforehand. The Draft also talked about “appropriate dressing rule” in dining halls and revision in the fee structure.
The move has evoked a strong reaction from students. The JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) on Sunday held an emergency meeting with hostel Presidents and residents in the JNUSU Office to decide upon a further plan of action against the move. It decided to start a signature campaign against the changes in hostel manuals.
Calling the move as undemocratic JNUSU also highlighted that VC violated rule 1.5.1 which mandates the inclusion of Hostel Presidents, the JNUSU IHA convenor, and JNUSU representatives in the IHA Committee decision-making process. This, they argue, curtails the democratic voices of the JNU Student Community.
JNUSU president Aishe Gosh said, “This kind of surveillance and curtailing of our basic right to movement has never been seen on our campus before. JNU is primarily a university of research scholars and known for its liberal campus. The student community of JNU on Sunday decided to start a signature campaign against the move instead of sending suggestions to the administration,” she said. (HT report)
Dean of students Umesh Kadam, who is also in-charge of JNU’s inter-hall administration— a body that looks after 18 hostels of JNU, has defended the decision of the administration saying that these rules have always been in the university’s hostel manual. “It’s just that they were not properly followed. So many things have changed over the years. The system has changed, the management has changed and that’s why the manual has to be updated,” he said.
Mr. Kadam also said the university also has to revise the hostel fee structure to improve the infrastructure. “We cannot continue with the minimal amount we are charging for all the facilities. The university has recently installed online payment software in all hostels. We will not increase the amount arbitrarily. JNU will continue its model of no-profit and no-loss,” he added.
The draft hostel manual also suggested that the hostel residents would not be allowed in another person’s room after 10:30pm. Farhat Salim, councillor of Centre for Law and Governance, said, “In JNU, the manual rules have never been followed because of its unique structure. It’s purely a research institute. The average age of students in JNU is between 24 and 28 years and the university also has hostel for married students. If the students are asked to be in their rooms by 11.30pm, then what is the benefit of the 24×7 library system in the JNU?”
Umesh Kadam refuted such arguments saying the administration will not implement anything “arbitrarily”. “We will go through democratic process. That’s why we have asked students to give us suggestions,” he said.